The Court of Appeal's ruling that a doctor was entitled to legal representation at a disciplinary hearing is particularly significant for the NHS, because the decision was based on the wording of a disciplinary procedure that is standard across the sector. But the decision has wider ramifications, because of the Court's remarks that the Human Rights Act would require employers to allow legal representation in all cases where an adverse decision is likely to have career-threatening consequences. The Health Secretary has now appealed to the Supreme Court (which takes over from the House of Lords as the UK's top court in October).

A case involving a school teacher accused of sexual misconduct - where the High Court reached a similar decision - is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal next month. The appeal is likely to deal with the human rights arguments in more detail, and the outcome will therefore have ramifications right across the public sector. Given that the Human Rights Act does not apply directly to the private sector, its significance for commercial organisations will be more limited.

For the NHS decision (Kulkarni) click here.

For the school case (G v the Governors of X School) click here.